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Sons of guns

Watch the St Kilda stars of the future hone their skills at Linen House Centre The next generation of Saints stars get a first hand look at life as an AFL footballer with the development of the Saints Father/Son academy.
James Coghlan trains while brother Jack and Tyson Milne watch on
Maybe in five or ten years one of these boys might be playing for the club.
Andrew Thompson
NOTHING excites fans more than the sons of past legends entering the draft.

For many, vintage Stewart Loewe performances and typically industrious Andrew Thompson games are still fresh in the memory. And it won’t be long before their boys, Sam Loewe and Flynn Thompson, reach an age where wearing the red, white and black becomes a distinct possibility.

Accelerating this development via the father/son program is an initiative that is seen as pivotal towards the clubs ambitions, and player welfare manager Tony Brown, a former Saints player himself, understands the importance of connecting the past to the future better than most.

“A few other clubs do it,” Brown told at the first father/son training session of the year last month.

“We thought it was really important that we engage some past players that have played 100-plus games and their families and in particular their sons.”

Where are they now? Stewart Loewe 

Thompson, Loewe, Peckett, Voss, Milne, Rice and Coghlan were the names involved in an afternoon of skills, physical testing and competitive work that allowed St Kilda’s Development Coach Paul Hudson and Head of Football Chris Pelchen to closely analyse their attributes.

For many of the past players, it was also an opportunity to see mates from years gone by and take a look at St Kilda’s Linen House Centre.

“It’s a fantastic program they’ve got in place and it’s also great to come down and catch up with a few of the guys I used to play with and see Loewy, Pecko and Milney in the background,” 221-gamer Andrew Thompson said.

“Flynn, my son, is loving his football. He’s playing for the Glen Iris Gladiators and loves to get out there and play as much as possible.

“Who knows, maybe in five or ten years one of them might be playing for the club.”

It’s a slightly different story for Peckett, who played 252 matches for the Saints and has five sons who are eligible under the father/son criteria of 100 games.

“It’s initiatives like this where you get the other past players together and you get to see guys you haven’t seen for a while and to get to catch up. It sort of brings you back to where you used to spend a lot of your time,” he said.

“I have five boys and if one of them or some of them want to play AFL footy and it’s there passion, then I’m all for it.”

VIDEO: Peckett leading the way

Sam Loewe, 14, impressed with his kicking skills, strong hand and general agility, while Jackson Voss, 12, looks to have a precise left foot.

Stewart Loewe - who played 321 matches for St Kilda from 1986-2002 – was an interested onlooker during the session, and enjoyed catching up with his former teammates as the boy were put through their paces.

“I’ve only been down here (Linen House Centre) a handful of times and you forget how good it is,” Loewe said.

“Certainly the locker rooms nowadays are a lot different to the ones back at Moorabbin… Obviously Pecko is down here and Thommo has arrived. I bumped into Vossy in the carpark coming through.”